LETTER: Watertown Families Struggling to Heat Homes, Stay in Their Home Are Often Unseen


Most will agree that January’s cold snap was brutal. We hunkered down in our homes and cranked up the thermostat. We survived nicely with an extra sweater. But for some in Watertown, the cold was truly unbearable. These are folks many of us don’t see or hear about.They include the young family in which Dad is out of work with a long-term injury, Mom is working two minimum wage jobs trying to make ends meet, and one of the two children has a chronic health problem that requires constant medical attention. Their building has just been sold, and the new landlord has raised the rent $200/month. They are three months behind in paying their heating bill, and their oil company is refusing to refill the tank. They are desperate.

Then there is the single middle-aged man who lost everything when fire destroyed his apartment. He has no insurance, and no place to live. The stories of hardship go on and on.

At the First Parish of Watertown, Nancy, the Administrator of the Helen Robinson Wright Fund, listens to them all with wisdom and compassion. The Wright Fund is one of the very few sources of emergency financial assistance available to Watertown residents. Year ‘round, the Fund is there to assist those who are in dire need of short-term financial help to pull them through a crisis. The Fund distributes more than $20,000 annually to help families and individuals cope with Watertown’s rising rents, the high cost of utilities, a shortage of food, emergency medical expenses, and so much more. In addition, the Fund works closely with Watertown’s Social Services Resource Specialists, based at the Wayside Multi-Service Center (617-744- 9585), to ensure that Fund applicants find services that will lead to brighter futures for them.

Begun over 30 years ago, the Wright Fund has seen a tremendous increase in requests for help, as the cost of living in our community has skyrocketed. While the Fund has received generous support from the Watertown Community Foundation, Watertown Savings Bank, and the Watertown Rotary Club, it takes more money than ever to provide meaningful assistance as the cost of living rises.

Members of the committee overseeing the Wright Fund are concerned that they will not have sufficient resources to meet the many urgent requests they expect throughout the rest of the winter and into the spring. Bobbie Brown, committee Chair, says “We appeal to the generous people of Watertown for their support to help the Fund provide critical assistance through this hard time. No contribution is too small, and all gifts will be greatly appreciated. One hundred percent of all donations will go directly towards helping those in need.”

Those interested may send a contribution to the Helen Robinson Wright Fund, c/o the First Parish of Watertown, 35 Church St., Watertown, MA 02472. For more information about the Fund, call 617 924 6143.

Will Twombly
Member of the Helen Robinson Wright Fund Committee

2 thoughts on “LETTER: Watertown Families Struggling to Heat Homes, Stay in Their Home Are Often Unseen

  1. It sounds like a worthy outfit. I’ve been wondering about how people in Watertown are coping with things like high heating bills this winter. I will call the number given, and also ask them about options for how to donate, such a dropping off a check at the First Parish or using online systems like Venmo and Paypal. Venmo is free for small donations–something to look into.

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